Province extends Bridge Grant again

Manitoba’s Premier says the province is extending its support grant for Manitoba businesses for the fourth time.

In a news release, Brian Pallister says the province is increasing its budget for the Manitoba Bridge Grant, which will offer a new round of $5,000 payments to businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We recognize this quick closure for many businesses will have a significant impact on their operations, particularly the restaurant industry who we know were preparing for a busy Mother’s Day weekend,” Pallister said in the new release. “Our government remains committed to delivering the right programs at the right times to help individual Manitobans and businesses through these challenging times.”

A fourth round of payments means the province will provide up to $71 million in financial support to eligible small to medium-sized businesses, not-for-profits and charities impacted by public health measures.

Organizations that received previous payments will automatically receive a fourth payment of up to $5,000 as early as Friday, May 14, 2021. The province will send deposit notifications by email.

The province says in total it has invested $286 million in funding for eligible organizations through the Manitoba Bridge Grant so far.

To find out if your business qualifies for the grant, visit the province’s website.

Additional Supports for Restaurants

In the same news release, the province also announced it is setting up additional supports for the restaurant industry, which Pallister says has been one of the areas the pandemic has hit the hardest.

Those supports include a $2,000 top-up for restaurants in addition to the $5,000 Manitoba Bridge Grant payment to help cover the cost of food waste, employee wages, maintenance or insurance.

The province will also provide an additional $2 million to the Dine-In Restaurant Relief program, which will help restaurants with the cost of shifting their operations toward a delivery model.

“While we urge Manitobans to stay home as much as possible over the next few weeks, we also want to encourage Manitobans to continue to support our many small businesses,” Pallister said in the release. “The best thing we can do for our local business community right now is bend out COVID-19 curve down, so they can get back to doing what they do best, employ Manitobans and offer services Manitobans rely on.”

Manitoba COVID-19 update: new restrictions on retail stores, gatherings, new vaccine eligibility

The province has placed new limits on retail stores amid a spike in COVID-19 cases.

Premier Brian Pallister and chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin announced the new restrictions on Monday, April 19, 2021.

Under the new orders, that kicked in at 12:01 AM today, retails stores must remain at 1/3 capacity or 333 customers, whichever is lower. Malls will be limited to 33 per cent capacity.

“Despite our best collective efforts and having some of the strictest measures in the country, COVID-19 cases and particularly variants of concern are on the rise,” Pallister said in a news release. “Introducing more restrictive measures is not what many of us want to hear right now, but it’s what we need to do to protect Manitobans and our health-care system.”

The additional public health orders include:

  • households can only have two designated visitors indoors
  • outdoor gatherings on public or private property are limited to 10 people including household members
  • faith-based gatherings are limited to 25 per cent capacity or 50 people, whichever is lower, with indoor masks orders in place except while household groups are seated at a service, are distanced from other groups and not singing
  • weddings and funerals are reduced to 10 people, excluding an officiant and photographer

These new orders will remain in effect until at least May 12, 2021.

Province announces updates to vaccine strategy

Manitoba’s Vaccine Implementation Task Force announced on Monday it is lowering the age eligibility for the Astra-Zeneca vaccine, which is available through clinics and pharmacies, to all people age 40 and up.

In addition to that, the province also expanded eligibility at supersites and pop-up clinics to Manitobans 52 and older and Indigenous people 32 and older.

Minister of Health and Seniors Care, Heather Stefanson announced this week the province is opening new supersites in north Winnipeg and Steinbach, and is setting up five urban immunization clinics aimed at increasing access for Indigenous Manitobans.

These clinics will be located at:

  • Ma-Mow-We-Tak Friendship Centre in Thompson, 4 Nelson Rd., Thompson
  • Brandon Friendship Centre, 205 College Ave. Brandon
  • Prairie Fusion Arts and Entertainment Centre, led by the Portage la Prairie Community Revitalization Corporation, 11 Second St. NE, Portage la Prairie
  • Aboriginal Health and Wellness Centre, 180 Higgins Ave. Winnipeg
  • Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre – Win Gardner Place, 363 MacGregor Ave. Winnipeg

The clinics are expected to open April 26, 2021.

According to the province’s vaccine information website it has administered 350,977 vaccine doses so far and 26.1 per cent of Manitobans are vaccinated.

People who are eligible can book vaccine appointments by calling 1-844-626-8222 or visiting

Manitoba considering loosening COVID-19 restrictions

The province of Manitoba may allow small group gatherings and re-open some businesses at limited capacity.

Premier Brian Pallister and chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin hinted at some possible changes to restrictions that could come into effect as early as 12:01 AM on Saturday, January 23, 2021.

The changes being considered include:

  • Household limits being increased to two people outside the home or five people if the gathering is held outdoors
  • Up to 10 people plus an officiant at funerals
  • Retails stores re-opening to public shoppers at a reduced occupancy of 25 per cent with a maximum of 250 people, with physical distancing measures remaining enforced
  • Non-regulated health services such as pedorthists and reflexologists re-opening with adequate physical distancing and requirements to collect information for contact tracing purposes
  • Barbershops and hair stylists re-opening at 25 per cent capacity with physical distancing and requirements to collect information on customers for contract tracing

Other things affected, such as bars, restaurants, religious services, and gyms were not on the list of considered establishments to re-open.

The province added stores may also be able to sell items that were deemed non-essential during code red and had to be closed off to customers.

Roussin says they are taking a very cautious approach because they want to avoid a spike in cases like the one that happened in the fall of 2020.

He added the Northern Health Region is seeing high case numbers and will remain in code red.

A final decision on the loosening of restrictions is expected to be made later this week.

Visit the province’s website for more information.